One of the more interesting aspects of the NFL off-season to me is analyzing each individual position and then determining whether or not that particular position is in need of an upgrade.
So far, the Dallas Cowboys have done a pretty good job of filling holes through free agency, and with maybe the exception of defensive end and backup quarterback, there really aren't any glaring needs to be addressed.
It seems as if a lot of focus has been placed on improving the secondary and figuring out the running back position, but I think another position could possibly be in need of an upgrade. We all witnessed firsthand last season, when Dez Bryant went down with an injury, exactly what the wide receiver position looks like, and I think we can all agree that we were left wanting more.
Bryant should be fully healthy and ready to go once the off-season activities kick off, but what about the rest of the receivers currently on the roster?
Let's take a look at the depth chart as I see it:
|1. Dez Bryant||6'2", 220 lbs.|
|2. Terrance Williams||6'2", 208 lbs.|
|3. Cole Beasley||5'8", 180 lbs.|
|4. Brice Butler||6'3", 215 lbs.|
|5. Devin Street||6'3", 200 lbs.|
|6. Lucky Whitehead||5'9", 163 lbs.|
|7. Vince Mayle||6'2", 224 lbs.|
|8. Rodney Smith||6'5", 220 lbs.|
Obviously, Bryant is the #1 wide receiver on this team and a top 10 player at his position. It would probably be wise to take things slowly at first once OTAs and training camp is underway, just to make sure that he is fully recovered from his off-season foot surgery. There is no question about his status with the team or if he will be ready to go once the 2016 season kicks off.
Williams is the #2 wide receiver for the Cowboys, but his inconsistencies have been frustrating. Some games it looks as if he has finally put everything together, whereas others it looks as if he forgot that he was even on the field. Williams is in the last year of his rookie contract and the Cowboys could be looking for someone to challenge him for that #2 wide receiver spot.
Cole Beasley found a role for himself in the slot and to me has locked down that #3 spot on the depth chart. I don't think he has to worry about his job because he has earned the trust of the coaching staff and Tony Romo. He has also proven himself to be a mismatch for opposing defenses, often times being the main target to convert in those third-down situations.
Brice Butler could possibly benefit the most from a full off-season working with a healthy Tony Romo, and as things stand now I have him slated as the #4 wide receiver. Butler showed flashes last season that he can be the deep threat that this team has been without for what seems like forever. He has natural hands to catch the ball away from his body and the speed to run past opposing corner backs. Look for Butler to challenge Williams for that #2 receiver spot if the Cowboys decide not to address the position through the draft.
Devin Street's time with the Cowboys should probably come to an end. He hasn't been able to prove he deserves playing time and the fact that he doesn't contribute on special teams could mean he's playing for a different team in 2016. Personally, I've seen enough of Street that I'm comfortable saying it's time to move on.
Lucky Whitehead is an intriguing player because he can be a dangerous weapon in the open field, but because of his short stature he is best suited to play out of the slot, a position Cole Beasley has a firm grasp on. Like Street, Whitehead could be the low man on the totem pole if the Cowboys decide to draft a receiver, but because he could be the Cowboys main return man, he has a better chance to earn a roster spot.
Vince Mayle and Rodney Smith have the size that the Cowboys seem to covet in receivers, but they could be nothing more than camp bodies and would have a long uphill battle to even earn a spot on the practice squad.
A drafted rookie receiver just knocks them down another spot on the depth chart and all but eliminates them from making the team.
So, as you can see the Cowboys will more than likely try to upgrade the position through the draft and there are several players that could be of interest to them. It all depends on what round they choose to draft a receiver.
If the Cowboys do decide to draft a receiver, who do you want to see wearing a star on their helmet in 2016?
BREAKING: Cowboys Sign Ex-Packers WR Randall Cobb
According to multiple sources, the Dallas Cowboys have signed former Green Bay Packers Wide Receiver Randall Cobb to a one-year deal to help bolster their depth at the WR position and potentially become Cole Beasley's replacement.
Cowboys are giving former Packers' WR Randall Cobb a one-year, $5 million deal, per source. https://t.co/8KWFPjSP8T
The Dallas Cowboys met with Randall Cobb earlier this week, but he eventually left Dallas without a contract. He must've had a change of heart or just needed time to ponder the Cowboys offer, but regardless of what transpired in that short time he is now part of America's Team.
During his time with the Packers, Cobb accumulated 470 receptions for 5,524 receiving yards and 41 touchdowns. The eight-year veteran will now be expected to replace some of Cole Beasley's production out of the slot for the Dallas Cowboys.
After years of watching Beasley as the Cowboys slot WR, it will be really interesting to see Randall Cobb in that role. He's not as quick twitched as No. 11, but can be just as dangerous due to his ability to be more of a down the field receiver. He also brings added value in the return game and could compete with Tavon Austin to become the return specialist.
This could mean the Cowboys forgo drafting a wide receiver early in the 2019 NFL Draft, but I wouldn't put it past them. Regardless of what happens, this is an excellent addition.
Welcome to Cowboys Nation Randall Cobb!
REPORT: Dallas Cowboys Re-sign Long Snapper L.P. Ladouceur
L.P. Ladouceur is returning for his 15th season as the Cowboys' long snapper. The veteran free agent was re-signed by Dalals today to a one-year deal.
Thanks to Jason Witten's one-year sabbatical with Monday Night Football, Ladouceur has now been with the Cowboys for more consecutive seasons than any current player. He just turned 38 last week, but Louis-Philippe remains one of the top long snappers in football.
The Cowboys have signed long-snapper L.P. Ladouceur to a one-year deal worth $1.03 million and $90,000 in bonus money, but he will count $735,000 against the cap. This will be Ladouceur's 15th season with the Cowboys, tying Ed "Too Tall" Jones, Mark... https://t.co/2iDsi6RX7e
Retaining Ladouceur is an underrated move for the Cowboys given their situation at kicker.
Brett Maher was only 80% accurate overall on field goals last year. The team could be considering an upgrade in free agency.
Whether they bring Maher back or try someone new, having a long snapper with Ladouceur's performance perfection will make things much easier for them.
REPORT: Police Detain Cowboys DL Tyrone Crawford After Bar Fight
According to TMZ, Tyrone Crawford was involved in a brawl at a bar in Panama City, FL last Friday night. The Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman and team captain was detained by police but apparently was not arrested.
The level of Crawford's involvement has not been substantiated, but TMZ's report does have him shoving police officers at some point in the action. The incident was reportedly captured by surveillance equipment at the bar.
Given that he was not arrested, one could assume that Tyrone was not one of the primary players in the melee. But that doesn't mean the NFL won't still review this matter as it relates to the personal conduct policy, and Cowboys fans know too well how "fair" that process can be.
This is certainly not a story you'd expect to see attached to Tyrone Crawford, who has been a model citizen and leader since entering the league in 2012.
Dallas elected to keep Crawford this season despite solid potential savings. He will count $10.1 million against their 2019 salary cap, which is high for his average production. However, he can play multiple positions and is one of their most experienced players.
Even if Tyrone were to get suspended by the league, it likely wouldn't be more than a one or two-game ban given his record and reputation. It shouldn't change anything about his status with the team.
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